9-year-old tried to save her twin brothers before all three were mowed down while boarding a school bus
24-year-old Alyssa Shepherd was arrested and charged with reckless homicide after she ran over four children killing three of them and leaving one with severe injuries
The uncle of three siblings in Indiana who were killed on October 30 while they were getting into their school bus said that his niece was a "badass" even in her last moments in life. Elgin Ingle, the uncle, said that his niece, 9-year-old Alivia Stahl, often behaved like a mother to her 6-year-old twin brothers – Xzavier and Mason Ingle. The devastated uncle said in an interview: "She held their hand to the school bus and onto the bus every day."
He continued telling WRTV: "She was holding their hand when they were hit and it looks like she tried to shield them a little bit. She had a split second to think of what to do, she chose to shield her brothers with that split second." Ingle has also said that the father of the children, his brother, is still coming to terms with the loss.
UPDATE: 24-year-old Alyssa Shepherd has bonded out of jail. She's charged with 3 counts of reckless homicide after she struck and killed 3 siblings who were crossing the street to get on a school bus in Fulton County this morning. https://t.co/ZLXGE1I7U4 pic.twitter.com/Upm1flY15N— RTV6 Indianapolis (@rtv6) October 31, 2018
He told WPTA: "He didn't just lose one kid, he lost all of them. All the prayers we can get, that's all you can ask for. You can't bring back the kids." Ingle then revealed that one sibling was spared from the horrific accident. The girl was at home at the time her siblings were killed because she was supposed to go to the doctor's office.
A friend of the family launched a GoFundMe page for the Ingles that has already raised a little more than $90,000 in just a day helping it reach its $100k goal faster. The tragic accident took place at 7:30 am on October 30 in a rural part of Rochester, Indiana on a two-lane road close to 4600 N. State Road 25.
The Indiana State Polie has said that the children were boarding the yellow school bus that already had the stop-arm activated while it was parked temporarily on the side of the road when the pickup truck coming from the opposite direction hit the group. The fourth victim of the crash was identified as 11-year-old Maverick Lowe who was airlifted to the Fort Wayne Hospital after he suffered from broken bones and various other injuries.
UPDATE: Alyssa Shepherd, 24, of Rochester, IN charged with 3 counts of reckless homicide in the deaths of twins Mason & Xzavier Ingle, 6, and Alivia Stahl, 9. Police say Shepherd was the driver of the pickup that killed the siblings while boarding a school bus pic.twitter.com/sjEN6wGVTH— Sean Lewis (@seanlewiswgn) October 30, 2018
A GoFundMe page was set up for Lowe as well who was thrown more than 30ft away in the crash. The page will help his family pay his medical bills and assist them in anyway possible. Jocelynne Loew, his mother, said in the description of the page: "He suffered broken ribs, busted knee cap, fractures in his arm and wrist."
"His leg is in pins and rods holding it together. He had plastic surgery already to put his face back together. He has slipped disks in his spine by his neck." The page has been able to raise a little more than $31,000 of the $45,000 goal.
The driver of the pickup truck that caused the tragedy was identified as 24-year-old mother-of-two Alyssa Shepherd. She was arrested and charged with three counts of reckless homicide and one count of passing a school bus resulting in bodily injury. She later bonded out of jail. The children were all students of Mentone Elementary School.
Sgt. Tony Slocum said that the death of the three children was a "terrible tragedy". He told NBC: "They were standing on the west side of the road getting onto the bus, which did have a stop arm activated as required by law and unfortunately, for whatever reason, the person failed to stop and caused three fatalities and at least one injury at this time."
Speaking of the fatalities, Slocum said: "I haven't seen first responders and troopers cry in a long time. When the children's father had to make identification of his children, that was just gut-wrenching. We saw tears today and our hearts just go out to them because most of us have children and we can't imagine the pain that he felt today. It was heartbreaking. It's still heartbreaking."
Slocum then said: "We all have a responsibility to make sure our children get to and from school safely. When we're traveling in the early morning hours and early evening hours we've got to anticipate school buses are going to be out. When those stop arms are extended, by law, you are required to stop. This is the exact reason why. We don't want another family to have to go through this."
The Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation, which is an organization that runs the schools in the area where the accident took place, released a statement which read: "Our school corporation has suffered a tragedy this morning. We have learned of three student fatalities and one student seriously injured and airlifted to a Fort Wayne hospital as they were hit by a vehicle while boarding their bus."
The statement continued: "We have deployed all school counselors to meet the emotional needs of our staff, students and parents. We are awaiting to learn more confirmed details but wish to ask the community to come together to pray for the families, our students and our staff."
Eric J. Holcomb, the Governor of Indiana, released a statement on October 30 afternoon. The statement read: "Words cannot express the depth of sorrow Janet and I feel, which only pales in comparison to what family, friends, teachers, classmates and community are feeling right now. Today, and for many more to come, we mourn their loss. I ask Hoosiers around the state to join us by sending your deepest prayers for the strength needed to endure such a time."
This incident is considered the worst US school bus accident since November 21, 2016, where six children lost their lives in Tennesee when a bus driver was doing 50mph on a narrow road and lost control of the vehicle.